Thursday, June 30, 2016

Express to Others the Consequences of Their Sin

Photo by Brian Kong
Scripture: Hosea 3:4
For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.

Insights: In the verse today we learn about the consequences of our actions.  Israel is being informed by the Lord that He is going to remove their kings and destroy their houses of worship.  These two actions were punishments of the Lord on Israel for their sins.  When we play the harlot with the Lord regarding our choices of sin, then there will be consequences.  Punishment is the right and proper response from a just and holy God as a result of our rebellion.  It is important for us to understand the distinction between consequences and grace.  At any point we can turn to the Lord and authentically repent from our sins.  When we make this request of contrition, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.  Forgiveness does not equate to no consequences.  Look at it like this: I get caught speeding by a highway patrolman.  As we talk I tell him I am sorry for speeding.  He replies, I forgive you for speeding, but here is the ticket you will have to pay for your disobedience to the law.  We are able to experience forgiveness and natural consequences at the same time.  The Lord is trying to help Israel understand that if they continue to walk the path of a harlot, then there will be the natural consequence of their national destruction.  Beloved, hear the promptings of the Spirit now.  Do not walk into sin knowing there will be consequences for your rebellion.  Pursue Him with all of your heart and walk in His paths of righteousness and holiness.

Questions:
1. What have been some of the consequences to your choices?
2. Have you recognized how God has used those consequences as a way of pointing you to the right path?

Prayer: Father, my choices have consequences and I am aware of this reality.  These often point me to Your grace.  Help me to see your drawing hand of grace on my life in the midst of my rebellion from Your grace.  Amen.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Teach Others the Right Path

Photo by Tito Balangue
Scripture: Hosea 3:3
Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”

Insights: The third truth we discover this week from our passage of Scripture is that we need to teach people the right path.  Notice that Hosea tells Gomer she will no longer play the harlot, but will have only one man and that man is him.  In other words, he is instructing her on the proper way to live life.  Israel has forgotten, because of their choice of harlotry, the goodness of God.  He is going to instruct Israel through their punishment the proper way to respond to an almighty God.  We too have to be instructed in the proper way to live as well.  After we have been instructed, we need to instruct others in the proper way to live.  All instruction really falls into two categories.  Holiness, which means to be set apart, is the first category.  Holiness deals with the disdain for sin and the things of sin.  We must have an intense hatred toward sin.  It ought to sicken our stomach when we are exposed to our sinful condition.  God’s holy standard will not accept any aspect of sin.  He requires absolute purity.  It is for this reason we must understand that both our holiness and our righteousness are imputed by the Lord Jesus into our lives.  We are not capable of being holy and righteous.  Jesus’ work on Calvary makes us holy and righteous.  When the Father looks onto us, He looks through the lens of His Son.  It is Jesus’ holiness and righteousness He sees in us.  Righteousness is the other category.  Sin is what we ought not to do and righteousness is what we rightly should do.  Once again, we are not capable of making right decisions apart from Christ’s mercy and grace.  He enables us through His Spirit’s work in our lives to do what is right and acceptable before God the Father.  Beloved, let me encourage you to take your instruction from Jesus.  Let Him use godly men and women in your life to help guide you down His path and learn to be holy and righteous in Him.

Questions:
1. Are you instructing or being instructed about the ways of holiness?
2. Are you instructing or being instructed about the ways of righteousness?

Prayer: Father, I sincerely wish to grow and walk in the ways of Your path.  Guide and instruct me in Your holiness and righteousness.  May my life bring You glory and honor.  Amen.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Intercede on Behalf of Others

Photo by Elliott Brown
Scripture: Hosea 3:2
So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.

Insights: We find in today’s verse the extent to which Gomer found herself trapped by her choices.  To fully grasp we need to go back to chapter two.  In the second chapter we find Hosea is taking provisions to Gomer, but her false lovers are opening the door.  They take the provisions and go back to Gomer and take credit for all Hosea has given.  When the false lover has gotten tired of Gomer he takes her and sells her on the slave market.  Then we get to this chapter and we find the Lord instructing Hosea to go and purchase her back.  It is for this reason, again back in chapter two, that Hosea tells her that she will no longer call him master, but rather husband.  He is her master because he has purchased her from these slave owners as indicated here in the second verse.  Hosea, however, does not want to be her master, but her husband.  He intercedes on her behalf with his payment of her slave price.  Jesus does the very same thing for us.  He paid our slave price of sin on the Cross of Calvary.  All we have to do is receive His gift of sacrifice and we will receive eternal life in Him.  After we belong to Him, however, we are to be minsters of reconciliation.  We are to tell the world about Jesus because we have been commissioned by Him.  Ezekiel calls us watchmen on the wall.  If we see the enemy coming and do not warn the citizens, then their blood is on our hands.  If, however, we tell them, and they refuse to listen to our warning, then their blood is on their own hands.  We are to warn the people Jesus is coming again.  He is going to take His bride, the church, home.  Those left will experience His wrath and will eventually spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.  If you will ask Him, He will give you the courage and the boldness to intercede on behalf of others.  He will show you and prompt you to the individuals He wants you to speak.  Listen to Him and obey.  Intercede on behalf of others just like Hosea did for Gomer.

Questions:
1. Do you understand your responsibility as a watchman for the Lord?
2. For whom are you interceding?

Prayer: Father, help me to see the world with Your eyes.  Help me to intercede on behalf of those who need to be introduced to Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Recognize the Situation

Photo by drburtoni
Scripture: Hosea 3:1
Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

Insights: In this first verse of chapter three we find the current situation of both Gomer and Israel.  Both have played the part of a harlot.  It is absolutely vital we take a clear assessment of our condition and diagnose the problem properly.  One of Satan’s methods of attacks is to distract us so much with the things of this world that we forget we are truly in a spiritual battle.  We see this played out all the way back in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  Satan gets Eve to question the goodness of God and His faithful provision.  Because she gets side tracked from the truth, she stumbles and falls into sin.  Granted her fall is a willful and intentional fall, but it was because she took her eyes off of the prize, which is the Lord God.  All too often I find myself playing the part of the harlot in regards to my relationship with the Lord.  As soon as I am confronted with my sin, I repent and turn back to Him.  This pattern is what the Lord requires of us all.  The better pattern would be to not get our eyes off of Jesus from the beginning.  How much better would our lives truly be if we authentically kept Christ on the throne of our hearts?  The answer would be immensely better.  My fear for the modern day church is that we are just like Israel.  We attend church and give God our head nod, but then we go to the gods of this world and give them our raisin cakes.  We give our jobs first priority over the Lord.  We give our recreation first priority over the Lord.  We give our children first priority over the Lord.  We give our desire for toys and luxuries over the Lord.  It is my prayer we would truly recognize our situation and keep our hearts tenderly knit to the Lord our God.

Questions:
1. As you examine your life, what is your current situation?
2. Have you made the connecting points that all of life is a mask for the spiritual battle with which we are participants?

Prayer: Father, I have so often played the part of the harlot.  Please Lord, protect me from myself and let my life truly be a tribute to You and Your glory.  Amen.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Final Key to Effective Training

Photo by Katie Walker
Scripture: Proverbs 10:9
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Insights: The final key to effective training has three parts.  The key is reinforce the training by doing the following three things.  Firstly, affirm your children.  When your child comes home with a report card with four A’s and one C, on which grade do most parents focus?  The answer is the C.  Ought we not have praised and affirmed them for the four A’s.  We need to be intentional about finding areas to praise our kids so that they know the behavior of integrity we desire for them to perform.  Secondly, we need to attend to our children.  This concept means to be present when you are present.  Unfortunately, all too often in my life when I am with my kids I am thinking about work and vice-versa.  Whatever the activity is in which you find yourself engaged, be all in on that activity.  Make the necessary arrangement to remove all distractions and give all of yourself to the work or play at hand.  Spend the appropriate amount of actual time with them and make certain that the time is rich and full of quality.  Thirdly, we must discipline our children.  I really do not care what our liberal agenda government says.  We need to discipline our children.  One of the reasons we have an integrity problem in our society is because we have a discipline problem.  When a child does wrong, they need to be corrected.  Correction is as equally important as catching them doing the right thing and praising them for it.  Are their people that take both of those options to the extremes?  The answer is obviously yes.  I don’t think we need to affirm every kid that plays a sport with a participation trophy.  At the same time, we do need to praise our children for the good jobs they do while participating in those activities.  On the other end of the spectrum is the parent who flies off the handle at every turn and the child is always afraid of the wrath of the parent.  This extreme is equally as wrong.  We need to model both properly and then watch and be amazed at what the Lord will do.

Questions:
1. Are you your kids and spending time with them?
2. In what ways are you disciplining your children?

Prayer: Father, help me to be fully engaged with my children as I spend time with them.  Help me to find things to enforce their good decisions and let me discipline calmly and not in wrath.  By Your grace, let this be true of me.  Amen.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

First Three Keys to Effective Training

Photo by Charles Wiriawan
Scripture: Proverbs 10:9
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Insights: So far this week we have evaluated the three sources where integrity is taught.  We have also learned the four principles of one who lives a life of integrity.  Over the next two days we will look at the four keys to effective training.  The first key is we set a godly example personally.  In other words, how can we pass on to another generation of Christ-followers what integrity looks like if we ourselves are not men and women of integrity?  We can not.  Let us live this example out as we model it for those watching our every move.  The second key is that we teach spiritual truths.  Especially as Fathers we are to be the head of our households.  We are responsible for biblical truth being taught on a daily basis to our family.  We are responsible for this biblical mandate.  Let us not take this charge lightly.  Let us not be dependent on our Sunday School teachers and pastors to be the ones to share truth with our family.  Let us raise the standard high and share the truth of the Scriptures at home.  The third key is to share stories.  Unfortunately, for far too many people the only stories they have to share regarding God and His faithfulness happened twenty and thirty years ago.  We need stories of God’s activity right here and right now.  We need to have our spiritual eyes open so we can recognize the Lord and then be bold enough to share these stories with others.  People need to know God is still alive and active today.  Let me challenge you to be courageous as you set the godly example, teach spiritual truths and share stories of God’s faithfulness.  May He be brought praise because of this activity of faith.

Questions:
1. Are you personally setting a godly example as you teach spiritual truths?
2. Do you share current stories of God’s faithfulness and power in your life or has it been twenty years since you have seen God move in your life?

Prayer: Father, I honestly desire to live a godly life for you Lord.  I want to pass on truth to my family and those with whom I come in contact.  Grant me the grace to recognize Your activity and to tell others of Your amazing faithfulness to me.  Amen.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Two Principles of Integrity

Photo by Helen K
Scripture: Proverbs 10:9
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Insights: There were four principles regarding integrity we looked at this week.  The first principle of integrity was that a Christ-follower rejects passivity.  The second principle was that a Christ-follower accepts responsibility.  The third principle of integrity is a Christ-follower leads courageously.  The kingdom of God is supposed to take ground.  We are to be advancing the gospel.  We are to be boldly going and telling others about the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are not to be hiding in the safety and comfort of our church pews.  We are not to be content with 93% of church plateaued or declining.  FBCBG is in a present negative growth pattern and people are saying, “Why are people leaving the church?”  I will tell you the reason people are leaving the church is because we have stopped living with integrity.  We have stopped being men and women of courage.  We have stopped sharing the gospel.  God forgive us and then let us have true biblical repentance and start telling others about Jesus.  The last principle of integrity we discussed was the fact Christ-followers ought to live a life expecting a greater reward.  I challenge you to go read through Paul’s epistles.  You will find one of Paul’s greatest motivators for being a man of integrity and courageously sharing Jesus with others was his deep held belief that one day he would be rewarded for his work.  Beloved, if we are truly faithful to the Lord, then we will receive a reward.  I can honestly say I do not understand the economy of the Lord.  I know there are five crowns mentioned in the New Testament.  I understand that what truly makes eternity joyous is the Lord Himself and all who are born again experience Him.  Yet I also know He gives some greater rewards than others.  How that impacts eternity I do not know, but what I do know is I want to be rewarded for being a faithful man of God.  I pray that prayer for you as well. 

Questions:
1. Would others say of you that you are a person of courage?
2. Do you long for the motivation of God’s greater reward in your life?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for being all too focused on the here and now.  Help me to live life with an eternal view.  As I do I will be more courageous and more concerned about Your approval than that of man.  Bless my life and reward me with Your grace as I faithfully follow You.  Amen.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

First Two Principles of Integrity

Photo by Crash Symbols
Scripture: Proverbs 10:9
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Insights: There were four principles regarding integrity we looked at this week.  The first one is that Christians reject passivity.  As with the sources we discussed yesterday, I fear the church of the United States has become far too passive in its declaration of truth.  For far too long we have side stepped issues in fear of hurting and offending other people.  I believe Joel Green and Mark Baker are correct in their book titled, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross.  The cross is offensive to all who will not submit to Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ absolute refusal to bend the requirements of salvation makes His work offensive and scandalous to ears who want a loving God without a holy wrath.  A Christ-follower is one who will be full of integrity and not dance around the issues regarding the truth of the Scriptures.  Rather, the second point of integrity is exactly what this follower ought to look like.  A person of integrity accepts responsibility.  In other words, this person says, “On my watch I stood for the truth and declared it boldly to those in need.”  A person of integrity that accepts responsibility is willing to say, “The condition of my church, family and society are directly related to my personal worship of the Lord Jesus.”  Responsibility acknowledges when we have messed it up.  Responsibility will stand for the right no matter the cost.  Responsibility is something men have fought against ever since Adam and Eve.  Adam was present with Eve when she was tempted.  Yet, after he ate of the fruit and God confronts him, Adam does not take responsibility.  He blames Eve and ultimately God for giving him Eve.  How did Eve respond?  The answer is, “It’s the serpents fault.”  Beloved we must reject passivity and accept responsibility for our actions.  It is truly the only way to live a life of integrity and a life that impacts those around us.  I pray you will be full of integrity.

Questions:
1. Would others classify you as a person who is passive in regards to being a person of integrity?
2. Would others speak of you and say, you are a person who accepts responsibility for whatever happens?

Prayer: Father, help me Lord to be an individual who takes responsibility for my life.  Grant me the boldness to not be passive in the midst of injustice and wrong.  Let me display Your love and grace triumphantly and with integrity.  Amen.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Three Sources of Integrity

Photo by Chris Evans
Scripture: Proverbs 10:9
He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Insights: This week we took a break from our sermon series on family from the book of Hosea.  At the same time, however, our subject dealt with families because it was Father’s Day.  We talked about integrity and the need for it in our society.  As in regards to this passage we talked about how integrity gives us a sure foundation upon which to walk, but that when we stop living with integrity we find ourselves off of the path and caught in the underbrush and thorns of life.  Eventually we are stuck and are discovered because we can’t get away.  Let me give you a short concept for what integrity is.  Integrity is you behaving the same way in private as you do in public.  In other words, you are authentic wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  What are the sources or areas in our lives where we primarily learn about integrity?  Robert Lewis in his book Raising Modern Day Knights indicates there are three primary sources.  As a way of giving tribute, everything I write this week in Thoughts by Scott are derivative of Lewis’ fantastic book.  Lewis states there are three primary sources for learning biblical principles like integrity.  The first is the community.  In history past, we had community organizations like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts that actually taught our kids how to live a life of integrity.  These organizations have changed so much over the years I am not certain how helpful they are any longer.  The second source for learning is the church.  Like the community, however, I fear the church has lost it’s power to truly communicate this truth to the next generation.  We have compromised on so many issues that we are weak and anemic.  The final source for learning about integrity is the family itself.  Once again, I fear for the family.  I fear we have Christ-followers that are so weak in their personal spiritual pilgrimage with the Lord they are not capable of displaying and teaching integrity.  Beloved, I pray I am wrong.  I pray there will be a generation that rises up and says, “Enough is enough.  We need to do what is right.”  May God help us.

Questions:
1. What source did you receive the most training regarding the subject of integrity?
2. Do you sense that these source areas are faltering on their responsibility to instill integrity in the next generation?

Prayer: Father, I pray you will strengthen all three of these sources as a place to pass on the disciplines of integrity.  May the generation behind us be men and women of valor and integrity.  May they be faithful to strengthen community, church and families.  May You be brought glory as a result.  Amen.


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Friday, June 17, 2016

God the Son Becomes Our Husband

Photo by Amancay Maahs
Scripture: Hosea 2:16
“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali.

Insights: The word Baali means master.  Remember the context of Hosea’s story.  His wife was sold into slavery on several occasions by her “lovers.”  On each of those occasions, Hosea himself would go down to the slave auction block and purchase her.  Even though he is her husband at that moment of purchase he also becomes her master.  Because of the tumultuous relationship she had with Hosea she recognized him more as a master than a husband.  Hosea, who is the picture of the way God is treating Israel, has drawn on her heart as he has allured her and lead her as he spoke tenderly to her.  He has provided for her and has promised her a future hope instead of a life of trouble.  Hosea’s faithfulness to Gomer has as, we learned last week ago, caused Gomer to say, “I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.”  It is from this place of repentance and renewal that Gomer is able to call Hosea Ishi, husband, instead of Baali, master.  God is doing the same thing for us.  He is telling us that in that day of His Son, Jesus’ return, the church will be made the Bride of Christ.  We will call Him Husband and not Master.  It will be an amazing day or reconciliation and a day of joy with this new marriage.  There will be a feast beyond imagination.  It will be a day of rejoicing.  It is my prayer you join us on that day.  All you have to do is receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  He will then guide and direct your path.  He will lead you into the way everlasting and you will know Him forever.  Turn to Jesus today if you have not done so before now.  It will be the best thing you have ever done.

Questions:
1. If you are married, do you recall your wedding day?
2. If you are not married, have you envisioned and dreamt about what you wanted your wedding day to be like?

Prayer: Father, one day Your Son is going to be my Husband.  I do not fully understand how the church is His bride, but I know we are.  I long for that day of marital bliss with Him.  In the words of Your love letter, Lord come quickly.  Amen.


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Thursday, June 16, 2016

God Gives Us A Future

Photo by Molly John
Scripture: Hosea 2:15b
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.

Insights: This part of verse fifteen is all about a future.  To fully understand it we must go back to the book of Joshua.  In the book of Joshua we are told the history of the battle of Ai.  In this second battle to take the Promised Land the children of Israel are utterly defeated.  There are a great deal of reasons for this disaster, but as Joshua begins to mourn and cry out to God he is told why they were defeated.  God tells him there is sin in the camp.  Joshua casts lots to find out which of the twelve tribes has the sin.  He then casts lots to find out which clan of that tribe has the sin.  Then he casts lots to find out which family of that clan has the sin and eventually he arrives at a man named Akin.  Akin took some of the spoils of the battle of Jericho for himself even though the Lord God had explicitly stated it was all for Him and no one was to take any of the spoils.  The consequences of this singular action caused Akin, his family, his live stock and every thing he owned to be taken to the valley of Achor.  In this valley the living things were put to death and the tangible items were utterly destroyed.  It was a waste land of pain and suffering.  The name Achor literally means trouble.  So, in our context of this verse we are being told that even though our lives have been filled with trouble, pain and suffering, God is going to give us a future hope—a doorway to His goodness.  God ultimately does give us this land of goodness in eternity with His Son, Jesus.  All we have to do is receive His gift of grace and become born again.  If you have never encountered Jesus, then you are living in the land of trouble.  In the New Testament we are told Jesus IS the door.  He IS the door of hope of eternal life.  It is my prayer you will open that door and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Questions:
1. Have you expressed gratitude to the Lord for the future He has in store for you?
2. Has the Lord given you a glimpse of this earthly future?

Prayer: Father, thank You that I am able to trust You for my future.  I do not have to fret and worry about how things are going to turn out.  One day I will be with you in paradise and as such I can experience a great deal of joy on this side of eternity.  Amen.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

God Gives Us Provisions

Photo by ViƱa Caliterra
Scripture: Hosea 2:15a
“Then I will give her her vineyards from there,

Insights: This little phrase is all about provision.  God is telling His bride, “I am going to take care of you.”  We do not have to question His faithfulness in regards to this truth.  Now, we do some times, on this side of eternity, get confused with our desires and His provision.  For that matter we get confused when we go through times of deep need and we are wondering how this period of time is God providing for us.  The answer is because provision is not always about having monetary security.  Many times what we are needing is to learn dependence on the Lord.  So, He takes us through a period in the wilderness like the Children of Israel and He teaches us that our provisions are met by Him and not our own ingenuity.  I want to emphasis this point.  These times of learning dependence on the Lord does not mean stress free living.  There are times our situation is so difficult that anxieties and attacks from the enemy begin to take there toll on us.  Yet, in the midst of these circumstances God is still showing His faithfulness and His ability to provide for us as we trust Him.  The truth of God’s provision ought to give us a good deal of peace.  I pray you are growing in your relationship with the Lord and are experiencing His might provision in the midst of possible dark days.  Never forget He is faithful to His own.  Walk boldly in this truth of your relational position as an heir to the King of kings.

Questions:
1. How has God provided for you lately?
2. Have you thanked the Lord for His goodness?

Prayer: Father, thank You for providing for my needs.  It is so easy to take credit for the things You give.  Help me to walk in gratitude with You.  Amen.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

God Draws Us to His Love

Photo by Mustafa Khayat
Scripture: Hosea 2:14 & 15c-d
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her.  And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Insights: Oh how often do I say, “This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture?”  It is almost comical how often I say it, but it is always true.  The verses this week also fall into that category because they teach us about God’s amazing love.  In today’s verses we see God taking his lover back to the beginning when they were young and idealistic.  He is reminding her of the carefree days of her youth; the days in which she used to sing.  Notice how God displays His love.  He allures her.  The dictionary defines allure as the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating.  God is powerful.  God is mysterious.  God is attractive.  God is fascinating and because of these traits we long for a relationship with Him.  God also leads us into the relationship.  The word translated “bring” literally means to lead someone.  So, God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the desert wilderness.  He was displaying His greatness and goodness to them.  He was ultimately leading them into the Promised Land and He leads us into a relationship with Him.  The last part of God’s amazing love is the way He speaks to us.  The word translated “kindly” literally means tenderly.  Think back to your courting or dating years with your spouse.  Do you recall the tender words you spoke to each other as you shared your heart, dreams and admirations?  God speaks tenderly to us about His love as well.  He leads us to His Son Jesus and His work on the cross of Calvary.  Beloved, never forget what allured you to the Lord God and be intentional about telling others of God’s amazing love.  He will use you to draw people into a deeper relationship with Him.

Questions:
1. What is your story in regards to God’s drawing on you into His love?
2. In what way do you reciprocate God’s love back to Him?

Prayer: Father, so often I am like Gomer and I spurn Your love.  Help me to reflect back with gratitude my love for You.  Let our relationship blossom into an joyous celebration of Your grace.  Amen.


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Friday, June 10, 2016

Blog Post by Thom Rainer: The Five Kinds of Churches That Must Change or Die

Photo by Kostya Sasquatch
Today I am going to forward you on to a blog recently written by Thom Rainer.  It was titled The Five Kinds of Churches That Must Change or Die.  Enjoy the read.


What are your thoughts regarding these five kinds of churches that must change or die?  Do you think your church falls into any of these categories?  Let me know by commenting to this post.

Also, let me encourage you to get Thom Rainer’s new book Who Moved My Pulpit? as a great resource to help you navigate the process of change.


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Thursday, June 9, 2016

In Spite of Our Sin, God still Loves Unconditionally

Photo by Mohd Hafizudden Husin
Scripture: Hosea 2:8
“For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil, And lavished on her silver and gold, Which they used for Baal.

Insights: Today’s verse is hard for me to grasp and fathom.  What you have occurring in this verse is Hosea gathering up provision for Gomer.  He then goes to the house of the false lover.  He knocks on the door and asks to speak with his wife.  The false lover says, “She is not here.”  Hosea then gives him the package of provisions and tells him to give this to Gomer and let her know it came from him.  The false lover takes the package and shuts the door.  He then goes to Gomer and says, “Look what I have gotten for you.”  He takes all the credit for the work of Hosea.  Satan does the same thing to us.  God is the One who truly provides for us.  God is the One who truly loves us unconditionally.  Yet, we spurn His love and give credit to everyone and everything else.  Even though we act this shamefully toward the Lord, He still loves us.  Jesus still died on the cross for our sins while we were still His enemies.  Beloved, if the Lord has indeed redeemed us, then we are to love others with this same kind of unconditional love.  May we all experience His grace and walk with Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  May our lives bring Him glory for He is worthy of such praise.

Questions:
1. Are you even capable of grasping, even in the smallest of fashions, God’s immense love for you?
2. Do you even recognize His provision for you in spite of your sin?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your unconditional love.  Help me to walk in Your grace and to experience the fullness of You.  Amen.


If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  If you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to live your thoughts.   Thank you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hopefully those Who are Disciplined, Will Repent

Photo by Compassion International
Scripture: Hosea 2:7c-d
Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!’

Insights: This part of verse seven is the hope for Hosea.  He is hoping this will eventually be Gomer’s response to him.  He wants her to come to the end of herself and her sinfulness.  He longs for the day in which she says, “I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!”  Hosea is unapologetically waiting for his restoration with Gomer.  The Lord our God is doing the same for us.  He is the Father on the porch looking down the road for His prodigal son to return.  When He sees His son a long way off, this loving Father runs to greet His son.  Everything the Father is doing and has allowed to occur in our lives is for the purpose of bring us to repentance.  He wants us to experience His mercy and grace, but He will allow us to languish in our sin for as long as we desire.  His hope and joy is for restoration to occur with us and Him, just like Hosea’s hope was for restoration between Him and Gomer.  It is my prayer you come to the end of yourself and realize just how much better off you are with the Lord of glory than you are in your own devices of pain and agony.

Questions:
1. Have you repented of your sin and turned back to the Lord?
2. If you have not, why?

Prayer: Father, I truly am sorry for my rebellion and sin.  Let me experience Your grace as I return to You and am fully restored by Your great love.  Amen.


If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  If you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to live your thoughts.   Thank you.